Soft Star DASH RunAmoc Lite

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Product Review, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Product Review

    Product Review
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    Barefooters

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    Reviewed by: buzzie
    Date Product Reviewed: 01/01/2012
    Product Type: Footwear

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    Soft Star DASH RunAmoc
    I've been watching the evolution of the Soft Star line-up for a couple of years now. Crazy barefoot runners looking for a little protection, trotting around in Roos - which were never meant for much more than ambling about the house. Then came the highly-anticipated RunAmocs with (oooh!) Vibram soles - and a couple of iterations to help them withstand the abuses of running. And the next big refinement, the DASH RunAmoc, heartier still, and with a closer fit and oxford-style laces. Now, in a grand departure, comes the Moc3 RunAmoc - a sleek, modern moccasin designed from the ground up for running.
    My first pair of Soft Stars was the Moc3 - ordered as soon as they became available. Unfortunately, there's something about the proportions of that shoe that just doesn't fit my funky feet and ankles.
    Disappointed, I called Soft Star for help. The elf I spoke with was quite helpful and spent a good bit of time reviewing my measurements and helping me find a moc that would work. I opted to try the Soft Star DASH RunAmoc Lite - as suggested by the elf, in a narrow width. (I would not have been aware of this width option, had I not called.) And, thanks to Soft Star's generous return policy, I elected to go with custom colors - as even (most) custom shoes are returnable! (There are a few exceptions and these are listed on their web site).
    I was delighted that my shoes - custom made for me! - came before the end of the week.
    Out of the Box

    What arrived was a pair of handsome (if I do say so myself) mocs in blue perforated leather, silver perforated side accents, and black suede saddle. I elected to go with the 2mm "street" sole - based on previous readings, I knew that the leather insole would add to the overall thickness and it just seemed like the 5mm "trail" sole would be too much.
    I tried them on... not the "floppy footbags" I might have expected (thanks, Maple Grove Barefoot Guy). No gaping about the ankles, unlike the Moc3. In fact, they almost seemed too small - with my toes obscenely outined in the blue leather. Hmm...
    I wore them about the house for awhile.
    • No rubbing about the ankle collar
    • No heel slippage
    • No pressure across the arch, with ample space and lace to tie them as loosely or tightly as desired
    • Width seems fine for my narrow foot, even with my now more-splayed forefoot
    All of the shoe seemed to hover about my foot, without slipping - my preferred fit - except for the length, or perhaps toebox volume. My toes weren't hanging over the soles, just pressing into the leather a bit. But, my many years of experience in leather skates has taught me that leather will stretch - if necessary, a little time wearing the DASH with wet socks should take care of it.
    Around Town

    The DASHes arrived while I was wrapping up training for a goal race. So, they didn't make it into the running rotation right away. Instead, they became my around-town shoes as the weather turned from summer to fall and my Wokova Feathers seemed less-and-less appropriate.
    I love looking down to see the bright blue peeking out from my jeans; and, apparently, so do many others - I swear, I should be carrying Soft Star business cards, I've passed along the URL so many times.
    And, I really enjoy the ground feel and flexiblity. So much so that I decided I could no longer abide my go-to business flats for days when I had to visit clients... I ordered a second pair! This time, the standard DASH Smooth version in black. And, I must say, it's been quite fun, roaming the halls of the Big 3 headquarters - in freakin' moccasins!
    The only issue (which isn't really an issue, just the nature of the beast) is wearing them as a casual shoe on rainy days. They're so low to the ground, keeping the feet dry while dashing through parking lots can be a challenge. (But, it's worth it!)
    On the Run

    I've been using the DASH Lites as my primary shoe on paved runs of up to 15 miles (so far). I love just padding around the streets of town - it feels almost primal (except for the plack-plack plasticky sound of the Vibram soles).
    I've yet to experience any wear-and-tear on my feet from the shoes - no untoward chafing, no annoying seams. (Keep in mind that I do wear these with an Injini liner sock.)


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    2mm Street Sole - 200 miles


    The 2mm street sole - combined with leather insole - does mute ground feel a bit more than I might like. They seem less sensitive than a Vibram Five Finger KSO, but more so than the Bikila. But, I find them more than acceptable. And, traction on paved surfaces has not been an issue - rain or shine.
    The soles are hanging in quite well so far. The one shown here has about 200 miles on it - some wear in the usual spots along the outer edge and ball, but nothing that makes me think I can't get another 400-600 miles out of them, maybe more.
    The leather has held up well throughout the shoe. The reinforced heel counters show no sign of collapse. My only concern is for the leather at the toe of the shoe where it meets the sole. Apparently, I'm a bit of a scuffer. And, worse than that, I've managed to trip ass-over-teakettle three times in the past month - catching the toe on/in a sidewalk crack. (All of these were, of course, witnessed by multiple strangers who were no doubt left wondering about that crazy elf running through the streets of town.) I think this could end up being the first point of failure for me... clearly, it's time to straighten up and run right.
    DASHing Through the Snow

    Have I mentioned yet how much I've been enjoying the shoes?
    Winter and wet sloppy weather are just around the corner and I've been wondering how these will fare. I've also grown so fond of my blue shoes that I can't stomach the thought of them getting trashed in the slushy salt-strewn streets. So... I ordered a third pair! Soft Star had a sale on stock black DASH Lites, and of course I couldn't refuse! These will be my go-tos when I don't want to risk jeopardizing the blue shoes.
    (When the new black DASH Lites arrived I was disappointed to find that they just didn't feel as good as the blue ones. Of course, one 5-mile run fixed that - now they're a custom fit!)
    On the first cold day of the season, I was immediately aware of the wind and cold coming in through the perforations. For about five minutes. I haven't noticed it since. Which has led me to think that the DASH Lites will work just fine through the winter - no need to move into the DASH Smooths, which seem heavier with thicker leather that I don't think would dry as fast. (Of course, I could be wrong. I'm just not seeing the need to run the experiment.)
    The winter is still young. I've only had the opportunity for one slightly-sloppy snow run - and the shoes performed just fine. My feet remained as comfortable as in any other shoe. And, traction, well... there isn't much, but I wasn't expecting any and so was running appropriately. Should I find myself facing more extreme conditions, I would wear different shoes in combination with Yaktrax or microspikes.


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    Happy Feet!


    I'm really digging the Soft Star DASH RunAmoc Lite for both running and everyday wear. I imagine I might even start using them for road racing come spring.


    Makes Me Happy
    • Zero-drop shoe with excellent fit and flexibility
    • Unique styling and ability to customize in all sorts of crazy colors
    • Soft Star customer service and craftsmanship
    Not So Much
    • Plack-plack plasticky sound of the 2mm Vibram sole that takes away a bit of the primal feel - I'd love to see something like Vibram Newflex here or even a leather version (which, according toRunning and Rambling, I understand they're working on)
    • Trip-inducing, scuff-prone toes - probably operator error, but I wonder whether they'd consider a reinforcement similar to the one available on their kids Taz moccasin
     

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